Albert Berkowitz was a docent at the Yiddish Book Center for ten years. He began by talking about his family, especially his grandmother (the only of that generation he ever knew) from Rumania. He described how his grandmother came to Staten Island with her children (some by marriage - she had three husbands, all of whom she outlived - and some her own) after selling all of her assets after her third husband died.
He describes the house he grew up in. He and his brother spoke Yiddish in order to communicate with his grandmother (until she died when he was 9). He describes his house as tri-lingual, and remembers that his parents would speak in Rumanian when they didn't want him to understand. He recalls the smell of challah on Friday nights, and describes two Rumanian dishes that were cooked in his home. He also remembers his grandmother as the bearer of Jewish rituals in the time she lived with his family. His father's brother married his mother's sister, whose family lived next door.
To cite this interview: Albert Berkowitz Oral History Interview, interviewed by Christa Whitney, Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, Karmazin Recording Studio, Yiddish Book Center, October 13, 2010. Video recording, http://archive.org/details/AlbertBerkowitz13october2010YiddishBookCenter ( [date accessed] )